HNC Marketing Communications/HND Marketing

HNC Marketing Communications/HND Marketing

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Marketing Communications (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as marketing theory and practice, advertising and PR, and using digital and social media (including analytics, search engine optimisation etc). The HND in Marketing (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC, and also covers traditional and digital marketing research, brand management; marketing analysis, planning and sales.

These qualifications cover areas such as marketing principles and planning; advertising, PR, digital and social media; marketing research, website and content development; use of analytics; brand management; consumer behaviour; sales and integrated marketing communications.  

The qualifications are available through colleges. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

Why deliver this qualification

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry — so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional units, which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs. These include international marketing; managing marketing resources, marketing relationships as well as management and business units.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

Who does this qualification suit

The HNC in Marketing Communications and HND in Marketing are suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include

  • Relevant National Qualifications or National Qualification Group Awards at SCQF level 5 or 6.
  • Any two National Qualifications at Higher level (preferably including Higher English) together with three National 5 passes.
  • Appropriate groupings of National Units, for example those focusing on marketing, market research, advertising, media studies or general business studies.
  • An SVQ at SCQF level 5 or above in a relevant area.
  • Different combinations of National Qualifications, Vocational Qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies in relevant areas.
  • For learners where English is not their first language, it is recommended that they possess English for Speakers of Other languages (ESOL) at SCQF level 5 or an overall score of 5.5 in IELTS.

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Candidate Information

HNC Marketing candidate information

The revised HNC Marketing is designed to equip candidates to start a career in marketing...Find out more

HND Marketing candidate information

The aim of the HND is to give candidates opportunities to develop actual skills to enable them to obtain a career in marketing (or marketing-related roles) at a trainee, introductory or executive level or to progress to Higher Education (eg degrees in marketing, communications, media etc) and/or to Professional qualifications...Find out more


Learners who achieve an HNC in Marketing Communications (GN5H 15) can progress to the HND in Marketing (GN5J 16).

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study. The HNC in Marketing Communications and HND in Marketing can provide entry variously into the second and third year of degree programmes. Some university degree programmes require specific subjects to be included in the award — for example, economics, finance, or management subjects. These HN qualifications provide a range of optional units to accommodate these requirements. Other universities will consider entry on an individual basis.

The unit options of these HN qualifications allow successful learners to prepare for a career in a number of related sectors, such as marketing, public relations (PR), sales administration; event management; customer service and advertising.

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Vocational Qualifications. For example, Diploma in Digital Marketing at SCQF levels 6 or 8, or SVQs in Customer Care; Retail, Event Management etc

Successful learners could also progress to qualifications from a range of professional bodies in this area, eg

  • Certificate and/or Diploma and/or Digital Diploma in Professional Marketing (CIM)
  • Diploma in Digital Marketing (CAM)
  • Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) qualifications


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority must come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

A wide range of interesting ongoing course assessments will apply, such as presentations; projects; responses to case studies/clients' briefs and production of marketing plans. 

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for these qualifications.

Where can you take this course?

Ushare open learning resources

Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification Structure

HNC in Marketing Communications

Group Award code:  GN5H 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC in Marketing Communication at SCQF level 7 consists of eight mandatory SQA credits (64 SCQF credit points) and four optional SQA credits (32 SCQF credit points).

HND in Marketing

Group Award code: GN5J 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND in Marketing at SCQF level 8 consists of 17 mandatory SQA credits (136 SCQF credit points) and 13 optional SQA credits (104 SCQF points).

Group Award Specification

Qualification Verification Summary Reports


These Group Awards have been replaced by HNC Marketing Communications (GN5H 15) and HND Marketing (GN5J 16).  GC81 15 and GC83 16 will lapse on 31/07/2019 and finish on 31/07/2022 and 31/7/2023 respectively.

Group Award Specification